Air travel has ceased to be something surprising and exciting, having turned into an ordinary transport service. Having stepped over this barrier, air carriers set themselves the goal of increasing the number of flights and passengers, while simultaneously reducing the cost of tickets - this is how a kind of "air electric" - low-cost airlines appeared. So how can you fly angrily but cheaply?
Low-cost airlines: free cheese in a mousetrap?
The business model of a discounter airline is focused on reducing the ticket price as much as possible, so such carriers, as a rule, save on everything - from the distance between the seats in the cabin to the size of hand luggage.
One class of passengers, multiple use of planes within one day, constantly updated pieces of equipment of the same type, ticket sales on the Internet - all this allows companies to offer flights in Europe for the price of a dinner for two (30-40 euros) or from Moscow to London for 5 000 rubles.
For this price, passengers receive a flight without a fixed seat in the cabin, food and luggage. These services are not excluded, they are simply not included in the basic ticket price, but if desired, they can be added for a fee.
There are no special problems with food and choice of location. If you did not pay extra for these services when purchasing a ticket, then a seat will be assigned to you automatically during electronic registration. Food can almost always be ordered directly during the flight - the prices in the menu offered on board are only slightly higher than those indicated on the website.
At RyanAir, a low-cost airline, you won't get a seat number at all at no additional cost. When boarding, "thrifty" passengers simply take seats free from preliminary reservation, as in a regular bus.
But with your luggage, be extremely careful. All items that you check in as baggage are charged separately. Moreover, if you pay on the website before the flight, then the cost will be one, and if you have to do it already at the airport, it will be 2-3 times higher, often exceeding the base cost of the ticket itself.
The carry-on baggage included in the original ticket price will be carefully measured and weighed. Be sure to check the permissible dimensions and weight when buying a ticket - they differ from company to company. And if for ordinary air carriers this is nothing more than a formality, then low-cost airlines "take the soul" out of your handbag or elegant suitcase. Either at the check-in counters, or at the exit to the aircraft, there are special boxes for measuring the dimensions of hand luggage. Each passenger must demonstrate that the luggage taken on board fits into this box.
If the baggage you have taken on board is oversized, you will have to pay between 30 and 100 euros for it. Payment can be made in cash or by card. Sometimes there are special terminals that accept only plastic cards. Only after that you will be allowed to land. At the same time, a bag that has not passed in size can either be passed on board or "taken away" and transferred to the luggage compartment.
Of course, not all companies mock unfortunate passengers and their bags this way. For example, Spanish Vueling or Portuguese Tap Portugal do not emphasize this. But the British EasyJet is likely to show interest in the size of your carry-on luggage, and the Irish RyanAir will subject it to medieval torture. In the same company, hand luggage is strictly one thing in the hands of a passenger, and even a camera or laptop in a case will be considered the second item to be paid (60 euros).
When buying a suitcase that you intend to use as carry-on luggage, pay special attention to its dimensions and opt for models with a special badge - "handbag", "on-board" or something similar.
Who flies from Russia
The three world leaders in the segment of low-cost passenger air travel are American Southwest Airlines, Irish RyanAir and British EasyJet. Of these, only the last company works with our country in the directions Moscow - London and Moscow - Manchester.At the end of 2013, the Hungarian low-cost airline Wizz Air began flying from Russia, offering tickets to Budapest for 30-40 euros.
Other international companies that carry out low-cost air travel and which you can fly out of Russia are AirBaltic, Austrian Niki (part of the alliance with Air Berlin), Air One, "baby" of Italian Alitalia, Germanwings, budget brand Lufthansa, Scandinavian Norwegian, operating only in one direction - Oslo-Pulkovo. As well as Turkish Pegasus Airlines and Spanish Vueling.
Large low-cost airlines are actively working with their customers, often reminding themselves of themselves by sending emails with various offers. EasyJet, for example, has an anti-flight fear course and a number of other frequent flyer programs.
Where to find a cheap ticket
In order to save money, low-cost airlines sell the lion's share of their tickets (sometimes up to 100%) online. For the same reason, they are not very interested in contacting intermediaries, so cheap tickets from these companies can rarely be found on the websites - ticket agencies. But they are “friends” with metasearch engines (Aviasales, Skyscanner, etc.), since they send visitors directly to the airline's website.
Two Russian low-cost airlines carrying passengers in the early 2000s - Avianova and SkyExpress - went bankrupt in 2011. Today Russia does not have its own aircraft discounters. So keep in mind that when booking tickets on the low-cost airline's website, you will have to deal with a foreign language. Perhaps only Turkish Pegasus allows you to switch the site to Russian.
Aeroflot announced the launch in the spring of 2014 of its own low-cost airline brand, Dobrolet. By 2016, the company plans to launch international flights under the new brand.
When it makes sense
Low-cost airlines are the best option for short-term travel alone and light. Also, low-cost airlines are beneficial for short-distance travel between cities within Europe, Asia or America.
If you have a long-distance flight, or you are flying with children, or you have a lot of luggage, or you need to transfer oversized cargo (skis, bicycles, etc.), you should calculate the total cost of a ticket per person and compare it with the offers of conventional airlines. If you suddenly have a trip with all the conditions listed, definitely take tickets only from comfortable air carriers - you will save time, nerves and even money.
Be prepared also for the fact that the flight of the low-cost airline may be delayed. So if you have a connecting flight and have to fly further, then perhaps a low-cost airline is not your option.